Football Manager 2014 pledges revamped 3D match engine and UI, realistic transfers and negotiations, Linux support

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My favourite jumper and a packet of a polos for your top player. That’s the sort of unrealistic transfer request you won’t be finding in the next Football Manager. Instead, expect ‘real world’ combinations of cash and loans, sub bench appearance fees and a new system to turn those those turn-based negotiations ‘live’.

Of course, you’ll still be able to trade players through the old “tried and tested” method if you like. That’s the game Sports Interactive are pitching for 2014: more sophisticated than ever, but mindful of its past.

The match engine has been subjected to a host of inarguable improvements for FM’s latest iteration: faster performance, better lighting and player animation, individual character and kit models, and enhanced AI that sees players react more readily to on-field incidents.

Huge swathes of the game’s UI have been wholly redesigned – including the training overview page, the transfer centre and the news homepage. As a consequence, managers can now handle club matters directly from a well-organised inbox.

Hilariously – and I’m going to quite directly from SI here – “the language employed throughout the game has also enjoyed a major overhaul and now corresponds more closely to the language of real world football.” Oo-err.

Beyond transfers and swears, SI have also added a splash of realism to contract negotiations. Managers and boards can now make plans and demands in both job interviews and contract renewal discussions. What’s more, managers stand to win a pay rise for staying loyal in the face of offers from other clubs.

Improved, too, are interactions between players, managers, their rivals and the press. The coaching staff can now give regular feedback on reserve and youth team players, and an end-of-season meeting will allow managers to provide some feedback of their own and set targets for future games. Best of all, managers can now ask influential players to “have a word” with their grumpier squadmates.

Further far-reaching changes have come to player tactics. A new focus on individual roles and team strategies means managers will be able to fine-tune roles for players in multiple positions and issue new instructions. Bear in mind, though, that just across the field is a rival manager with similar abilities to adapt tactics on the fly thanks to advanced AI.

Football Manager 2014 is due for Windows, Mac and, for the first time, Linux. It’ll be Steam Workshop-integrated, allowing managers to share, among other things, custom competitions and challenges using a new Challenge Editor.

It’s a proper, holistic improvement on its predecessor, from the sounds of it. Pre-order it on the official site for beta access two weeks before release, whenever that is.

Which new or newly updated feature are you most looking forward to?